'Pimp' Gives Oscar a Good Rap

March 6, 2006 — -- Rap music was large and in charge at the 78th edition of the Academy Awards.

In a night of first-time acting wins and a surprise best picture victory for "Crash," Southern rappers Three 6 Mafia enjoyed a rare moment of Oscar glory for the hip-hop community.

The group scored an Oscar milestone by bringing the first rap/hip-hop song to the broadcast when it performed "It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp," which earned a best original song nomination for "Hustle & Flow."

The song title may not scream Oscar class, but before questions could arise the group was introduced by fellow Southern rapper Ludacris who made a point to remind the audience that past winners in the best song category include double-entendre songtitles such as "Shaft," "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" and "Morning After."

After that introduction, Three 6 Mafia's R-rated and bleeped explosive performance tore the Kodak Theatre and set the mood for the historic win.

New Tune for Oscar Winners

It used to be that kids wanted to grow up and become rock stars; now they want to be rappers. Hollywood, in the constant pursuit of this elusive young demographic, has finally woken up to this fact.

Having fellow rapper and previous Oscar nominee Queen Latifah present the best original song Oscar to Three 6 Mafia confirmed to the Academy Awards crowd what millions of kids already know -- hip-hop has permeated the fabric of American culture and rap music is here to stay.

For a brief instance, the podium at the Academy Awards resembled the one at the MTV Video Music Awards as a group of rappers in baseball caps and baggy clothes crowded the microphone to accept their awards.

The best original score category also caused a commotion when perennial Oscar favorite John Williams' two nominated scores "Memoirs of a Geisha" and "Munich" were shut out by Gustavo Santaolalla's "Brokeback Mountain." This was one of the three awards that the controversial cowboy love story nabbed.

First-time nominee and winner Argentine-born Santaolalla is gaining a strong following in this category. He collaborated with Uruguayan Jorge Drexler on last year's best original song winner "Al Otro Lado del Rio" from "Motorcyle Diaries."